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Why You Should Prequalify for an Auto Loan Before You Buy


Buying a new or new-to-you car is the second-largest financial investment (following a house) that most people will make. In addition to a big financial outlay, customers are also committing to a long-term relationship with their new ride, as the average length of vehicle ownership is nearly seven years. When you prequalify for an auto loan before you shop, you’ll reap several advantages, including the following:

  • Understanding Your Loan Options—Knowing the terms of the loan before you finalize your car purchase means you will understand the full amount, including interest over the life of the loan, that you will be paying for your new vehicle. When you prequalify for financing, you’ll be able to get the vehicle that you want with terms that fit your budget.
  • Controlling the Sales Dynamic—Waiting until you’re at the dealership to think about financing options gives the dealer the upper hand in the negotiation process. To give yourself the advantage, review interest rates and monthly payment options before going to the dealership, without the pressure of a salesperson looking over your shoulder.
  • Focusing on Your Vehicle—Once you have all the details and your loan prequalification in hand, you can focus on finding the right vehicle. Prequalifying also gives you the power to weigh all your options while shopping at your own pace.
  • Applying online or over the phone—Use AAA’s streamlined process to close your loan and pay your auto dealer. Visit, or call 833-345-5626; in Connecticut, call 800-332-5626.